The childcare industry has spent the last few years just rolling with the changes and requirements that the COVID-19 pandemic caused. And in some areas, childcare centers have changed operations fundamentally in the quest to provide a safe and fun learning environment that puts parents at ease.
With all this change have come new trends in childcare that require some evolution on the part of the business owner. Soon, the calendar year will flip, offering new opportunities and the most promise for the childcare industry in the past few years.
Childcare owners should review these trends and plan for a successful year ahead with these five crucial trends.
Childcare Industry Trends for the New Year
The new year comes with new promises for better success and fewer COVID restrictions and requirements. Here’s what to expect.
- Increasing Childcare Services Demands
Parents are weary from the work-from-home struggles with little to no childcare, and offices are reopening their doors. Even though many parents might still choose to work from home to save time and money on commuting, they are ready to focus on work and have their child back in childcare.
In 2020, 20 percent of working adults left their jobs because they couldn’t continue working without childcare, with schools closed or moved to remote learning only. There was then an industry shift to nannies, babysitters, and tutors coming into the home, which decreased interest in traditional childcare centers.
The great resignation has been on the heels of this trend, which has made it challenging for childcare centers to find and keep good teachers. So even when parents were ready to return to work, finding high-quality care was challenging in some areas.
Preparing for the slow and steady return of many parents to the workplace can make you poised to meet the growing demands in the industry. Staffing presents a challenge when you don’t have the enrollment to support another teacher. But perhaps you can hire a part-time teacher who can transition to full-time once the demand is there so that you’re poised for growth.
- Childcare Centers with Flexibility Will Succeed Most
Flexibility in attendance options will help childcare centers meet the demands of parents who continue to work from home but want some childcare to help out. The more flexible a childcare center is, the more children it is likely to enroll.
Providing parents options for sending their child just a few days a week or fewer hours per day than traditionally can give you an edge compared to your competitors who hold strict attendance options only.
While managing part-time schedules is more challenging than only allowing for full-time attendance, it can mean increases in enrollment and more money in your bottom line. The key is ensuring that you bill for it properly and manage enrollment to find opportunities for additional students.
- Technology Continues to Evolve and Adapt
Technology in and out of the classroom continues to adapt and improve. For example, cloud storage makes document management simpler and easier for teachers and administrators to access and manage with incredible ease.
Improvements in childcare software have made it simple for parents and teachers to stay in touch throughout the day. And advancements in software programming are allowing childcare owners to bill for flexible schedules without all the manual calculations and bill prep that they used to require.
iCare Software’s Rate Chart Modeler puts administrators in full control of setting rates, bill periods, discounts, and more for automated billing, no matter how complicated the rates are or how many discounts you offer.
- Childhood Education Learning Assessments Involve More Analytics
Digital tools are making it easier for teachers to share learning updates with parents thanks to data collection and analytics. Online platforms provide useful insights that help teachers improve the learning environment.
Logging developmental milestones are fast and simple because you can preset the milestones you want to track and then apply them to multiple children at once so teachers can get back to teaching quickly while still logging important information.
Teachers can log observations as they happen, and parents can access progress reports online and ask teachers questions.
- Contactless Check-in Is Likely Here to Stay
During the pandemic, reducing high-touch areas and avoiding close person-to-person contact was crucial. But as time goes on, it’s becoming apparent that both parents and teachers like the contactless check-in options that grew out of the pandemic.
And temperature checks with symptom questions during peak cold and flu season might also prevail. Having the technology in place to support these efforts within your childcare will be essential.
Regular surface sanitization and increased handwashing are likely to become a mainstay in childcare centers throughout the country.
Growing a Childcare Business in This Evolving Environment
Growing a childcare business during this time of transition and evolution for the childcare industry means staying up to date on these trends and finding ways to upgrade your policies and procedures to be a world-class center.
iCare Software offers modern technology you won’t find anywhere else. Our innovative approach to flexible rate setting and billing will help you attract parents looking for more flexible options for their child’s care. And our communication tools will help you build relationships to retain students long-term.
Schedule a demo to see how iCare Software can help you adapt your childcare center to these new trends.